Online Library Science Degree Programs Resource

Learning about a library science degree can help individuals who are interested in working as a school librarian to get started towards a career path in this field. Librarians, or information professionals, help patrons of public and private libraries find books and information in both electronic databases and texts. They teach library users how to correctly search for and evaluate sources of information. In addition to working with other people, librarians are responsible for classifying, organizing and cataloging texts so that they are easy for patrons to find. They also have administrative duties, such as reviewing and selecting the newest literature to add to the library’s collection. Librarians need to have exceptional social skills, including the ability to interact professionally with many different people. Librarians also need to have organizational skills, knowledge of a wide range of literature, competent research skills, and the ability to navigate through complex information in computer databases.

How to Become a Librarian

Requirements for library science jobs vary by state. Most librarian positions require that candidates have an undergraduate degree in any subject area and a master’s degree in library science. Some places require that librarians pass a state test to work in public libraries and a teaching certification exam to work in schools. In the United States, 49 library science programs have obtained accreditation from the American Library Association.

Library Science Degree Requirements and Coursework

A library science degree is a good fit for those who wish to work in information collection and management in an academic setting. An undergraduate degree in library science can prepare students for entry-level careers in teaching and library management or for further study at the graduate level.

Students who enroll in a school with a library and information science degree program will take courses in the history of library science and the evolution of literature. In addition, prospective librarians take classes in research strategies, the collection and organization of materials, information technology systems, and library management. Students can also choose to take additional classes that address specific interests, such as how to find age-appropriate resources for children. All library science degree programs take one to two years to complete.

Some examples of classes a student would take to obtain a library sciences degree include:

  • Computer-Based Information Tools
  • Resources for Children
  • Library Services for Early Childhood
  • Curriculum Resources and Services in the School Library Media Center
  • Storytelling
  • History of Children’s Literature
  • Collection Development and Management
  • Academic Library Management
  • Evaluation of Resources and Services
  • Evaluation of Information Systems

Library Science Degree Online

An alternative option to campus library science degree programs is an online library sciences degree which is offered at accredited universities like the University of North Carolina. Online degree programs utilize internet-based learning applications such as virtual classrooms and may require fieldwork or an internship.

Library Science Degrees & Certification

People who obtain a library science degree can find jobs in both the public and private sectors. Many librarians work with children at media centers in elementary, middle, or high schools. Others decide to get positions at colleges or universities, or to work at community libraries funded by the government. Librarians can also find jobs in special libraries at hospitals, churches, museums, research facilities, and other businesses. For people who have decided to pursue a career in library science, the job outlook is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many librarians are expected to retire in the coming years, leaving an excess of job openings available.

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See our list of the top 50 school library blogs which features blogs that provide great insights and informative articles about working as a school librarian.

Library Science Career Interviews

Profiles of Library Science Degree Programs

San José State University
The San José State University School of Information’s exclusively online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program affords graduate students the unique opportunity to tailor their master’s degrees to their individual career goals. They can prepare for a variety of future roles in school libraries and academic libraries, such as information literacy or digital literacy instruction, collection development, website development, and library technology management. MLIS students complete all aspects of their degree online, including courses and field experiences. Periodic live online class sessions via web conferencing give students opportunities to engage in live discussions with instructors and classmates. Students also interact frequently via online discussion boards, where they can log in and participate at their convenience. Full-time students can finish the 43-unit MLIS program in as little as a year, although students have seven years to fulfill degree requirements. Students must complete six required courses, including a thesis or e-portfolio, and nine electives. The MLIS program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association since 1969.

Northern Kentucky University
Northern Kentucky University awards the Bachelor of Science in Library Informatics to students who successfully complete its academically rigorous program in library information systems. Students learn the principles and theory of organizing, accessing, and assessing information as well as materials preservation and information behavior. The program emphasizes all forms of information, which differentiates the program from related informatics degrees. Graduates are prepared for careers in such fields as research and information management and for graduate study in library science and information systems. The curriculum includes up-to-date instruction in current trends in informatics and digital and meta information skills and practice. The program is housed within the university’s College of Informatics, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to the information sciences. Although it is a traditional degree program, select courses in the BS in Library Informatics are offered online and in hybrid online/traditional formats.

Kutztown University
Through its Department of Library Science and Instructional Technology Kutztown University offers two bachelor’s degree programs in library science: the Bachelor of Science, a non-teaching degree, and the Bachelor of Science in Education, which can lead to library teaching certification in grades K-12. The program prepares students for careers as professional librarians with the skills needed to evaluate, collect, organize, preserve, retrieve, and share information in academic and other settings. Both degree programs include field experience components that allow students to observe school libraries in rural and urban settings across grade levels. During the junior year of study, students may undertake a supervised professional field experience, which leads to a senior clinical field experience and practicum. Select courses in the degree program are available through online distance learning, which can provide additional flexibility for students with busy schedules. The teacher education track holds current accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

University of Maine at Augusta
The University of Maine at Augusta offers a Bachelor of Science in Information and Library Services degree program that prepares students to work independently and become part of the new librarianship in the information age. The foundation of the program is the research, theories, approaches, and practice in modern library and information science, allowing students to enter the workforce or pursue graduate study. The 120 credit hour program offers several tracks to admission depending on students’ previous academic experience. A capstone project includes an on-site internship in a school setting. All courses in the major are taken online using streamed video instruction, computer conferencing, and Internet technologies. Students may also take non-library courses at the University of Maine or other accredited institutions for transfer, providing a highly flexible and personalized degree plan. Program graduates are qualified to receive the Certified Library Support Staff certification from the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.

Teaching and Education Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does a library science degree lead to teaching certification?

Answer: Many library science degree programs offer curriculum tracks that lead to teaching certification in the library sciences. You can check with schools in your area and State Board of Education for certification requirements.

Question: Are library science degree programs available online?

Answer: Yes! Many library science degree programs are offered online or in hybrid formats.

Question: What prerequisites are required to apply to a library science degree program?

Answer: At the bachelor’s degree level, prerequisites typically include the ACT and/or SAT exams. Master’s level library science programs generally look for applicants who have an undergraduate degree in library or information sciences and related fields.

Question: What is the difference between an information science and library science degree?

Answer: Library science is a branch of the information sciences, which specifically focuses on information collection and retrieval in academic or scholarly settings. As a result, an information science degree can be broader without a specialization in library sciences, which many programs do offer.